Tuesday, March 15, 2016

TOP STORY >> U.S. Senate hopeful stops in Jacksonville

Leader staff writer

About 20 people listened to Conner Eldridge, who is running as a Democrat against Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) in November, outline his platform during a fundraising reception Tuesday at Chopsticks Inter-national Center in Jacksonville.

Eldridge grew up working on a family farm in Lonoke, off Hwy. 70. He graduated from Lonoke High School, then Davidson College in North Carolina and the University of Arkansas Law School in Fayetteville.

He was U.S attorney for the state’s Western District for five years and, before that, worked for Summit Bank in Arkadelphia from 2004-2010.

Tuesday was his 13th wedding anniversary, and he has three sons, ages 3, 5 and 8.

The candidate compared the actions of those in Washington to his youngest boys, fighting over a toy and pretending to agree on who could play with it first.

Eldridge said senators are supposed to listen to their constituents and represent them.

Washington is broken by partisanship, the candidate argued. “Our politics are completely messed up, and we’ve got to do something different, and that’s why I got in this race,” he continued. “Everybody’s supposed to sit down and work together to solve problems.”

Eldridge also pointed out that this is his first time running and the incumbent has been in Congress 16 years and passed four pieces of legislations, to rename post offices.

The candidate says he’ll be “a stronger voice for our state, work hard every day to get things done for people in Arkansas, to be passionate, to be full of conviction and to go really make a difference on real issues that matter.”

Eldridge said the amount of money in politics should change because it’s buying things that shouldn’t be bought.

The candidate was asked whether he would support raising the federal highway tax. He said the government needs to spend money on infrastructure but needs to find a way to do that while dealing with long-term budgeting issues.

There is no perfect solution, he noted, but those from both parties should pick the best one for any situation, he noted.

Eldridge was asked what he would do about lobbyists and answered that he’d tell them “no.”

The candidate also ex-pressed confidence in his chances of winning the race because, he says, people are frustrated, want change and the presidential election will bring more voters to the polls.